DONDE v/s ADONDE: Understanding When and Where To Use Both

While learning a non-familiar language, quite often we come across a pair or a set of words, which at first glance are almost identical in both writing and pronunciation, and the Spanish language is not any different. A vast population of the world in many different countries speaks Spanish language. Even in the USA after English, it is one of the most spoken languages, and that is why many people are interested in learning this beautiful, vibrant and expressive lingo.Now, in Spanish language, when a preposition comes before a word, it may change the meaning of that word. This is exactly the case of donde and adonde. Both these words express the concept of where but with slightly different meaning and usage. Therefore, they are not a substitute for one another, as they will not convey the same intent. New learners often confuse one word for the other word, especially when using them in questions. Let us explain the difference between the two in simple terms and examples.

The Uncomplicated Difference Between DONDE & ADONDE:

  • Loose literal English translation; Donde =‘where’, and Adonde = ‘to where or where to’.
  • Donde expresses a location or a place whereas adonde is used to express a destination or a direction.
  • Donde implies no movement while adonde is a combination of two words, ‘a’ and ‘donde’ and the preposition ‘a’ implies movement.
  • Donde is a relative pronoun referring to a place (i.e. a noun). It can also be used as an interrogative adverb but it this form ‘dónde’ (i.e. you add an accent). Whereas adonde is a relative adverb which gives information about a place implying movement. Adónde is the interrogative form.

Usage Of Donde:

We use Donde when referring to or asking about the location and whereabouts of a person, thing or place. The following examples will make it easier to understand the usage of donde and dónde:

a) This is where my little sister was born.
      Aquí es donde nació mi hermana pequeña.

b) This is where my journey ends.
      Aquí es donde termina mi viaje.

c) Where did we go wrong?
      ¿Dónde nos equivocamos?

d) Tell me where you grandfather is.
      Dime dónde está tu abuelo.

e) Your phone is in the same place where you left it yesterday.
      Tu teléfono está en el mismo lugar donde lo dejaste ayer.

f) Where there is a will there is a way.
      Donde hay voluntad hay un camino.

g) Where is your home?
      ¿Dónde está tu casa?

h) Where is my shirt?
      ¿Dónde está mi camisa?

i) Where do I write my name?

       ¿Dónde escribo mi nombre?

j) Where are you from?

     ¿De dónde es usted? 

Usage Of Adonde:

As mentioned earlier adonde is a combination of ‘a’ and ‘donde’. It is acceptable in Spanish to right it as one word adonde or as two separate words ‘a donde’. Either way the meaning remains the same.

Now we use adonde to know about an individual’s destination, as in where he/she is going. It is also used in an abstract sense when a person shows disappointment or surprise. Lets look at the following examples to easily understand the usage of adonde and adónde:

a) Where is this bus taking us?

      ¿A dónde nos lleva este autobús?

b) Your uncle went to the Lopez’s.

       Tu tío fue a donde los Lopez.

c) Where are we going with this issue?

     ¿A dónde vamos con este problema?

d) I want to know where my son is.

       Quiero ir adónde está mi hijo.

e) Where is he going?

      ¿Adónde va?

f) Where will this policy take us?

      ¿A dónde nos llevará esta política?

g) Where did you go on your spring break?

      ¿A dónde fuiste en tus vacaciones de primavera?

h) Tell me where to go.

      Dime adónde ir.

i) Where do you want to go?

      ¿Adónde quiere ir?

j) Where are we going for our annual class trip?

      ¿A dónde vamos para nuestro viaje anual de clases?

Winding up:The difference between donde and adonde is a bit complicated but still simple and straightforward. We hope our discussion has cleared the concept of the usage of both these words in an easy to understand way. Happy learning Spanish.  Feliz aprendizaje de español.

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